Taking pictures of celebrities and other famous people is a full-time job for some people. The pictures they take can be worth quite a bit of money, so when someone uses one of their photos without permission, they may decide to fight back. It does not even matter to them if the subject in the photo is the one using it. For instance, Splash News and Picture Agency located in southern California recently filed a lawsuit against Jennifer Lopez, alleging that she violated copyright law.
Lopez is accused of using photos on her Instagram account that Splash claims belong to the agency. Splash says it never gave Lopez a license to use the Nov. 2017 photo of her and Alex Rodriguez having breakfast. Splash claims it is owed $150,000 for each violation since photos of Lopez can bring in a lot of money when sold.
Mainstream newspapers, celebrity magazines and tabloids will pay well for good quality photographs. Splash claims the one in question was distinctive, valuable and creative, which means it could have sold for a significant amount of money. Many celebrities know this and attempt to reduce the value of the photo by giving it away. However, even though they are in the photo, that does not mean they have the right to do so.
California residents may be able to see both sides to this particular dilemma. Under current copyright law, the copyright goes to the person who takes a photograph. For this reason, celebrities like Lopez could be in violation of the law by using them without permission from the person who took it — even if it was a member of the paparazzi. However, that does not mean that the person who used the photo has no defense, and it would be worthwhile to find out.